Jatka haul must stop

Hilsa Conservation Week

Published : 07 Mar 2024 10:27 PM

As a 7-day ban on catching hilsa fry (Jatka) will begin from March 11, the fisheries and livestock ministry has warned of taking stern action against those who will violate the restriction. The government will observe Jatka Conservation Week-2024 from March 11 to 17 to discourage the fishermen to catch the hilsa fry in order to boost its production

The government has taken all pragmatic measures to increase the production of hilsa. So, it has been doing everything to make sure that there is no obstacle in the way of raising hilsa production. 

Hilsa is the most prized fish in Bangladesh and one of the best in the world. Hilsa production has surpassed all previous records. Bangladesh is in the first position among the countries that are producing Hilsa.

But Jatka (hilsa fry) haul is going on unabated in different rivers of the country despite constant vigilance by different law enforcement agencies. River police and coastguards were seizing maunds of jatka and illegal current nets from fishermen every day. 

Jatka (hilsa fry) haul is going on 

unabated in different 

rivers of the country despite 

constant vigilance

Fishermen are also being held in this connection. Law enforcement agencies seized illegal current nets. However, a section of unscrupulous fishermen have continued random netting of jatka. 

Earlier, the government imposed a ban on catching jatka less than nine inches in length for seven months from November to increase hilsa production. But the fishermen are catching hilsa fry defying the ban. 

There is no alternative to protect Jatka and mother hilsa for increasing production of this popular variety of fish. If the production increases, the price of hilsa will come down within the purchasing power of all people. Hilsa, a symbol of Bangali tradition and glory, which got recognition as geographical indication (GI) product in 2017, makes the most delectable dish of the Bangalis because of its unique taste and smell. 

As a single species, it contributes about 12 per cent to the country's total fish production. The present government is not only enforcing laws to protect Jatka, but it (government) has also increased the amount of VGF food assistance to fishermen during this fishing ban.

The authorities concerned will have to start providing food assistance among the fishermen families. On the other hand, sometimes we have noticed that many traders or other professionals who have never fished or even gone near the river bank have got fisherman cards and get food assistance from the government during the fishing ban every year.

On the contrary, many who live only on fishing are not registered on the list and thus do not get government assistance. Keeping this in mind, the authorities concerned will have to prepare the list so that real fishermen get government assistance.